Global leading real estate consultancy firm, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), Sri Lanka, in partnership with Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka has launched ‘Sri Lanka: Asia’s next IT/ITES destination’- a report that highlights the immense capability and growth potential of Sri Lanka in the outsourcing/offshoring market and provides stakeholders with a holistic view of its IT/ITeS sector and the opportunities that lie ahead for investors. ICTA is the Sri Lanka Government’s apex ICT agency, designated to drive the country’s digital transformation.
The IT/ITeS industry of Sri Lanka has been performing at an accelerated rate for several years. ICTA, along with the industry stakeholders, estimates that the current IT/ITeS industry contribution to the economy is around USD 1.2 billion. In the recent past, this growth has picked up further pace due to the knock-on effect of the pandemic, paving the way for higher acceptance of digital technologies at the individual, corporate, industry, and national levels.
Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia to achieve a balanced development in the e-government development index 2020 driven by strong socio-economic pillars like institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labour market, the financial system, market size, business dynamism and innovation capability.
Speaking on the findings of the report, Dr. Samantak Das, Chief Economist and Head Research & REIS, India, JLL stated, “Government’s regulatory reforms in trade policies to attract foreign direct investments coupled with export-oriented growth model that stimulates private investments are likely to boost an inclusive economic growth of the country. The country’s aim to fulfill its Vision 2025 project that focuses on transitioning the Sri Lankan economy into a knowledge based, highly competitive social market economic model will strengthen Sri Lanka’s position as an emerging hub for IT/ITeS.”
The overall ICT industry of Sri Lanka with its sub-sectors, including IT/ITeS and telecommunications, is projected to generate USD 1.8 billion revenue by 2022. Furthermore, it is to become a USD 3 billion industry by 2024, through export revenue, entrepreneurship, innovation and digital adoption, creating over 300,000 direct jobs and enabling 1,000 startups in the country.
“Sri Lanka has been long known as a niche outsourcing market successfully tackling complex business functions across various industries. Over the past decade, Sri Lanka had been quietly developing into Asia’s next IT/ITeS destination, with its vast talent pool, efficient infrastructure, supporting business and investment environment, and a high liveability index,” Jerry Kingsley, Head, JLL Sri Lanka stated.
Government’s continuous efforts to boost economic growth and expand ICT industry
Sri Lanka is one of the low-risk, emerging economies in the world today for investments, reinforced by a strong legal framework and investment facilitation bodies to protect investors. By introducing a series of reforms in trade policies to attract foreign direct investments, which are likely to boost an inclusive economic growth. It has launched several initiatives such as organising Asia’s largest virtual investment forum – ‘Invest Sri Lanka – 2021’ as well as several regulatory reforms to improve the country’s ease of doing business status and drive FDI inflows to new heights.
“The Government of Sri Lanka has identified the IT-BPM sector as a thrust industry and has prioritised its enhancement to reaching greater heights. Our goal is to build a digital economy driven by technology entrepreneurs in our quest to increase the export and foreign earnings from the technology sector and related knowledge services. ICTA is also working on an ambitious plan with the industry and the relevant regulatory entities to bridge the country’s digital divide, creating an inclusive digital ecosystem. It is a fundamental necessity to building the technology-based society envisioned in the Government’s national policy,” said Eng. Mahinda B. Herath – CEO, ICTA.
The virtual press conference was addressed by Jayantha De Silva – Secretary to the Ministry of Technology, Government of Sri Lanka. Other keynote speakers and panelists included Oshada Senanayake – Chairman, Information and Communication Technology Agency, Eng. Mahinda B. Herath – Chief Exectuive Officer, Information and Communication Technology Agency, Denver De Zylva – Senior Vice President / Global Head of Facilities and Sustainability, Virtusa, Timothy Wright – Vice President Operations – Sri Lanka, Shangri-La Group, Nuwan Perera – Board of Directors, SLASSCOM and Vice President – Software Operations at IFS, Sanjeev Nair – Senior Director, Work Dynamics.
Dr. Samantak Das – Chief Economist and Head – Research & REIS (India & Sri Lanka), JLL,. S. Robin, Senior Director – Consulting, and Jerry Kingsley, Head – Sri Lanka, JLL were also present.